Change is good

Vibrant colors expected for fall foliage

Photo submitted to Times Observer Maple leaves in Warren show the transfer from green chlorophyll pigment to dominance of pigments of other colors.

Fall has begun and the leaves are turning.

Those looking to get and see the show at its best still have a couple weeks, but it is expected to be one not to miss.

“Early indicators seem to be leaning towards very vibrant fall coloration this year,” Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry Cornplanter District Forester Cecile Stelter said. “Much will depend on the weather over the next month or so.”

“Ultimately, there will be more and more color with each passing day,” Allegheny National Forest Silviculturist Josh Hanson said. “Folks should be reminded to take every opportunity they have to get out and enjoy their public lands — peak or not.”

“Forecasts are predicting some very nice weather at least through the end of the month — and if the forecasters are accurate, then that should bring on some rich, bright colors,” Stelter said. “Regions to our east are already well underway in their fall coloration, but I believe our region is just getting started.”

“Barring any significant weather changes, I would predict that we will hit peak somewhere around mid-October — I would say Oct. 14 through 20,” she said. “Some individual trees are already in full color, but most of our hillsides are still mainly green.”

Some trees are moving along faster than others.

“Timing and quality of fall color varies by species,” Hanson said. “Generally speaking, maples reach peak color earlier in the season and are more vibrant than oaks.”

He suggests taking a look away from the major waterways.

“Folks can expect to see more color, and earlier color as they travel away from the Allegheny Reservoir and the major rivers where oak species tend to be more abundant,” he said.

“Dogwoods — both the trees and the shrubs — seem to be showing a lot of early color as are some of the maples — both red and sugar,” Stelter said.

Not all trees will make it in full color into mid-October.

“Crimson King maples, which people plant as an ornamental in their yards and which have dark red leaves all the time have already started to significantly drop their leaves,” Stelter said.